When I was a kid I lived in a house surrounded by pastures. The cows and even the fearsome bulls didn’t prevent me and my little brother from wandering along the creek and climbing up to the apple orchard to run around the gnarled trees. When I was even littler I lived on a working farm, complete with cows, barn and silo in back and pear trees in the front yard. My parents rented the rambling old farmhouse from a kind farming family I thought were wealthy and sophisticated beyond compare.
Now I live in a city. On purpose. Not in the suburbs where a person can have a bit of green and kind of see the stars at night. I live on a tiny patch of grass where the house next door is within touching distance. And I like it this way. (OK, maybe I’d like a bit more cushion between walls, but hey, you want city life, you take the whole package.)
Once in a while my craving for fresh air and sunshine and wind get the best of me. Usually a walk in Cherokee Park fits the bill, but with fall officially (if not truly) here, I thought a trip out to the country may be fun.
So Brian and I hopped in the car yesterday and crossed the river to Indiana to visit the agritourism enterprise known as Joe Huber Family Farm & Restaurant where people go to experience a “Taste of the country” where everyone is treated like “Family” (gratuitous quotes and capitalization theirs, not mine).
It was fun. Despite the fact that I find blacktop surfaces covered by SUVs and minivans incongruous when going to “The Country.” And despite feeling a bit odd being the only 30somethings present without kiddies leashed to our person — reinforced by the panicky mum who screeched at her little Robbie to Get Out Of The Barn Now!! when my evidently scary and suspicious looking husband entered the premises in order to climb up the stairs to get to the 40 Foot Slide (Fun for Kids and Adults).
We tore into beautifully sticky caramel apples, laughed at the freaky little goats, and wandered around the orchard. We shopped in their teeming Farm Market, picking up pumpkins, apple cider that was pure cold fall in a bottle, and fall scented candles. And we waited an hour for “Real Food” made “fresh from scratch.” That part wasn’t so fun. I entertained myself ogling at the size of the strollers children come equipped with these days.
I guess when I think of country cooking I think of grandma food. This wasn’t that. My grandma certainly didn’t fry her biscuits. Tony biscuits, as they were known, were puffy golden baked layers of joy. “Famous fried biscuits,” indeed. I’ve never heard of such nonsense. They tasted like those little sugar donuts at the China Buffet, only without the sugar. The fried green tomatoes were good, I’ll say, but the apple butter was lacking in spice, the cole slaw puckered my mouth with way too much vinegar and the blackberry cobbler was just a doughy, soggy, sad little lump — without even vanilla ice cream to save it from total disrepute.
Ah well, we were still outside in the country air, enjoying the day together, and knowing that fall seriously has to be right around the corner. You can pick pumpkins for Pete’s sake — it has to cool off soon.